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Medicine Hat chapter at march in solidarity with local Muslim community

The Council of Canadians Medicine Hat chapter participated in the ‘STAND: Support, Tolerance, Acceptance, No Hate/No fear, Diversity’ march on February 12.

The Facebook promotion for STAND had noted, “STAND Medicine Hat is an event planned for February 12, 1-3 pm, to voice our support to the Muslim community in Medicine Hat, minorities, immigrants and refugees living in our community. A peaceful opportunity to display support, tolerance, acceptance, no hate, no fear and diversity. This a inter-denominational family orientated event.”

Prior to the event the Medicine Hat News reported, “Hatters will have an opportunity to march in solidarity with the city’s local Muslim community at a peaceful event organized by STAND Medicine Hat on Feb. 12 in Riverside Veterans Memorial Park. STAND organizer Shelley Ewing says she is trying to find a peaceful way to bring community members together to support and encourage one another at this difficult time in the state of world affairs.”

Ewing says, “I have been sitting for the last two weeks watching the news, and watching what’s been happening in the States, and I found I was getting quite angry about the backlash against Muslim people. I just thought anger isn’t going to do anything positive so I came up with STAND. We are standing up for what is right, and against what isn’t right.” And local resident Rashid Bhatti notes, “The Muslim community is a very small community here, and we want to be in peace and harmony with others in our city. We don’t want something like this (mosque killing) to ever happen here.”

Chapter activist Jessica Plattner tells us, “Our chapter attended STAND to show solidarity with Muslims, immigrants, and refugees in our community.”

Following the tragedy in Quebec City, the Montreal chapter attended the funeral for three of those killed at the mosque; the Montreal, South Niagara, Guelph, Centre Wellington, Peterborough-Kawarthas, London and Mid Island chapters attended vigils; the Ottawa, London and PEI chapters have participated in marches against Islamophobia; the Winnipeg chapter has called on their city council to support a sanctuary city designation for their community; the Chilliwack chapter encouraged their contact list to send to their MP e-mails prior to emergency debate on the Safe Third Country agreement; and the North Shore chapter called on Trudeau to oppose Trump’s racist travel ban.

This past weekend the Chilliwack chapter also participated in a ‘You Belong Here’ community walk and public forum. The Chilliwack Progress reported, “The theme of You Belong Here is ‘supporting our neighbours and celebrating diversity in Chilliwack’. The timing of the diversity event comes in the wake of a horrifying act of mass murder in Quebec City as well as anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies emanating from the United States.”

The Council of Canadians supports diversity and inclusion, and rejects racism and Islamophobia.